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An objects features and an objects cause

  1. May 17, 2007 #1
    Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2007 #2
    Yes. A book or this physics forum are examples.
  4. May 18, 2007 #3


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    What are the relevant signs of intelligence here? Is intelligence being aware of goals and making choices from options in order to best meet those goals?

    If it's something like that, I'd say that, sure, an object being fit for some goal is consistent with its features having been chosen intelligently toward that goal, but it alone doesn't prove that that was the case.
  5. May 18, 2007 #4
    When you use the term goal, I believe, it applies to seeking or searching. The reason why I search for things is because I lack patience. Instead of searching I should just be observing and waiting. It sounds very passive but how else can wisdom be obtained?
  6. May 18, 2007 #5
    A pertinent question, which may not have a straightforward answer. For example, a lever placed to move a heavy rock can signal that an intelligence planned to do so, or that a stick wedged itself when it fell, or that a rock rolled over it... So this lever may have been designed or not. What objective criteria can be used to differentiate between the result of intelligence and the result of randomness or self-organization?

    A few possibile options:

    - Fitness for a goal: as seen above, maybe, but then again maybe not. Whose goal would it be, and how can we know that the apparent goal is indeed a true goal and not a random situation?

    - Complexity: simple states suggest nothing in particular therefore complex states can suggest intelligence. But where is the cut-off point between simple and complex? And can't complexity also suggest self-organization?

    - Similarity to human patterns: people see intelligence when something looks like what they would do. Of course if human intelligence results from evolution then so could these patterns.

    Just a few thoughts, I don't have a clear picture at the moment...
  7. May 18, 2007 #6


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    Nothing is nothing. If there is no evidence of an intelligent cause then there is no evidence of an intelligent cause.

    The question is redundant.
  8. May 18, 2007 #7


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    Maybe that isn't what was meant then.

    The question sounds to me to essentially be asking if you can tell after-the-fact that a genuine decision has been made by only looking at the results, all of which, presumably by definition, were possible. I don't see how you can do so unless a decision leaves some kind of trace (which would be what?) or you can somehow eliminate all other possibilities.
  9. May 18, 2007 #8
    I also disagree that the question is redundant. Try this as a test case: if an object bears a serial number, does it reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?
  10. May 18, 2007 #9


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    Sure. Objects that display functional ability adaptive to their specific environment, and that do not generate from replicating molecules with adaptive capabilities, can reasonably be expected to have arisen due to the engineering of some intelligent force. If a caveman is shot forward through time and comes upon a crane at a construction site, for example, it's a safe bet for him to believe it was designed and built by somebody.
  11. May 18, 2007 #10


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    [response to Out of Wack] Meaning that a VIN number won't tell you how a car was designed, only that it was? Ok, I guess I'll buy that...kinda. That a car was designed still is a piece of information about how it "arose".
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